The transition from high school to college comes with so many new opportunities. During my first handful of weeks at RIT, I was astonished at the variety of clubs and events on campus. There was so much I wanted to take part in. As I signed up for clubs, committed to campus activities, and began tryouts for the tennis team, my school work started to pile up. I knew that I would have to make some changes in order to get everything I wanted out of my college experience.
I was enrolled in 6 classes, joined 3 clubs, started playing on the tennis team, and began working a part-time job on campus during my first semester. I had my mind set on staying committed to each of these things, but I just wasn’t sure on how I was going to do it. I knew I wasn’t alone in this struggle, as most college students have schedules as busy as mine, or busier. Despite this, it’s easy to get tired out quickly. Here are some of my greatest learnings to help you adapt when it’s your time to make the jump:
1. Find what motivates you
As my schedule got busier, I quickly realized the importance of keeping myself focused. I find it crucial to remember the big picture, rather than getting sidetracked by the little things. As school work piles up, it’s imperative that you recognize what you’re doing it for. Remind yourself of why you are studying your major and that hard work will pay off. I realized that if something means a lot to you, the time you put into it will be worth it.
2. Make room to breathe
One of the most crucial lessons during my first semester was the significance of taking a break. I took advantage of the free time I had, whether it was 30 minutes or 3 hours. I really enjoy meeting up with a friend in between classes at a campus coffee shop, or taking a walk on campus with some friends as a break from homework. If I have the time, I also love a midday nap as a recharge for the rest of the day. RIT even has an interactive Nap Map of all the best places to nap on campus! Weekends are a great chance to do something fun, maybe attend a hockey game on campus, or explore a cool area of Rochester.
3. Stay organized
Keeping yourself organized is key to success. College comes with a lot of events and assignments to keep track of. There are multiple great calendar apps, like Monday, Smartsheet, Google Calendar, and Woven. RIT uses MyCourses as a learning management system, which gives you access to the courses you are enrolled in. MyCourses also has a built in calendar system, with assignment dates and class times. I find it helpful to put all of my assignment deadlines into Google Calendar as soon as I know about them.
4. Be smart about building your schedule
Entering your first semester, your advising team will create a schedule for you. However, for your second semester and beyond, students get to build their schedules themselves. Your academic advisor will be there to guide you, but it’s great to have the freedom to construct your schedule on your own. This process is done through RIT’s Student Information System. It is extremely important to evaluate all of RIT’s class options, enroll in the credits you need, and form your schedule in a way that works best for you.
5. Get ahead of the game
Planning ahead is essential to get things done. I unfortunately learned how imperative it is to start your assignments early in college the hard way. Due dates come up a lot quicker than you’d think. It is never fun to complete something last minute, or cram in a study session for a test at the last possible moment. Stay ahead of the game by paying close attention to what your professors post on MyCourses, and keep track of important dates.
College certainly takes some getting used to, but keeping yourself motivated and staying on top of your game will ensure a successful college career.